Sidharth Shukla, Mona Singh, Jay Soni, Shamka Sikander: TV actors embrace OTT medium to break stereotypes
Considering how web platforms have churned plenty of content in the last one year and audiences have happily lapped it up, it won’t be wrong to say that the OTT space has taken the entertainment industry by storm in India. Be it writers, directors and Bollywood actors, everyone is thronging to the various streaming platforms to showcase their work. And actors from television background are no exception, as they too, seem to be bitten by the OTT bug and are exploring the medium quite frequently.
Popular names from TV such as Ronit Roy, Mona Singh and Sakshi Tanwar have been part of web shows Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain, Black Widows and Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat respectively. More prominent names such as actor Jennifer Winget headlined the series Code M, Krystle D’Souza starred in Fittrat and Karan Tacker in Special Ops. Sidharth Shukla has already got his fans excited with his different avatar in the upcoming web series Broken But Beautiful 3 .
So what is it about the web that’s getting already established, to leave their small screen stardom and dabble with the digital space?
For actor Delnaaz Irani, who’s set to make her web debut with series, Pari Hoon Main, OTT offered her an opportunity to play a part that she has never been approached for and that made her take up the role.
“Pari… was very good opportunity. I wanted to play a mum to a kid. I want to do mature kind of roles. I can’t keep playing a friend and bubbly thing around. I wanted to venture out into serious stuff, something more different and more challenging. My image is just so strong as a someone bubbly and comic, I am still stuck there only. So, yes, OTT has given me that opportunity to break that in some way for sure. Here’s hoping that with this shift, more OTT projects will come my way,” shares the actor, who essays the role of Ashnoor Kaur’s mother in the series.
Actor Jay Soni, who was a part of the web series Twisted 3, was a bit fed up with the good boy image that he had acquired because of his roles in TV shows and OTT helped him breakaway from that.
“The web project was a good way for me to tell that, ‘Hey see, I can do much more than what you’ve seen me do on TV so far.’ I also did some intimate scenes on the show and that was totally opposite to what my fans have seen me do till now,” adds the actor known for shows Sasural Genda Phool and Sanskaar — Dharohar Apnon Ki.
Akanksha Puri, known for her role in TV show, Vighnaharta Ganesha, will be seen in web series Inspector Avinash opposite Randeep Hooda. She also agrees that web platforms do provide opportunities to the actors to explore more shades of their craft, and allow them to experiment and choose the role that best suit them.
“I myself wanted to experiment with my acting abilities. As an artiste, there was this hunger in me to take up different and challenging roles, and I got that opportunity via web platforms. It’s one of a kind chance and always gets the best our of you,” Puri muses.
Many have also pointed that venturing into digital space is a way better opportunity than just waiting for films, which sometimes may or may not happen. And even if they do get it, the roles are just not worth it.
Lauding the OTT boom, Shama Sikander, who is known for TV shows such as Yeh Meri Life Hai and Baal Veer, notes how the web has opened up doors for actors like her.
“It’s great for me as I believe in performance-based roles and good characters. OTT gives you that power and an actor is appreciated for their talent, not because he/she is a hero or heroine of the film. I like that this whole idea of hero and heroine that’s there in films, doesn’t exist on OTT,” says Sikander.
She adds that unlike films, actors on OTT don’t have to adhere to fixed notions of physical attributes and other such criteria, “OTT has quashed those factors. On the web, I don’t have to worry about how glamorous I’ve to look but only the character I’m going to play”.